Written by Miami Today on October 29, 2009
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BANK OF DADE: It seems Miami-Dade will move ahead with a study to explore opening a credit union or bank so the county can serve as its own depository, a Bruno Barreiro initiative. The county’s Budget, Planning and Sustainability Committee Tuesday approved his proposed legislation — but some were skeptical. Commissioner Carlos Gimenez said he’s OK with exploring, but "I’ve got serious reservations about us becoming our own bank," one of them being tangling politics with finance. Committee Chair Katy Sorenson said the same — she’s fine studying the possibility but has concerns about the idea itself. The full commission is to consider the item Nov. 17.
DAKOTA DOES IT: In support of the county bank concept, Mr. Barreiro pointed to the state-owned Bank of North Dakota. "They’ve done some very progressive, sound financing that’s helped both their constituency and their governmental institutions," he said, and "We’re [Miami-Dade] at least as big financially and in population as North Dakota." In fact, the state is home to about 641,481 residents. Miami-Dade’s population is nearly 2.4 million. It’s been reported North Dakota plans to spend about $8.85 billion over its next two-year budget cycle. Miami-Dade runs on a $7.4 billion annual budget. The Bank of North Dakota operates with more than $160 million in capital. All state funds and funds of state institutions are deposited with the bank, which also accepts outside deposits. The bank is not a member of the FDIC.
RECALCULATING: Rather than the county budget committee powwowing in advance of approving a budget, it should be the whole commission, Commissioner Joe Martinez says — minus him so he doesn’t have to sit through it, he joked. This year’s budget process was longer and harder than any commissioners say they can remember. Katy Sorenson, budget committee chair, agreed it could pay off to try a different strategy next year "and see if we can actually get to a budget within the timeframe." Carlos Gimenez also backed Mr. Martinez’s proposal. "The full body should have all the knowledge the committee does" going into a budget hearing, he said. And because the meetings are held in mid-August, "we better take our vacation early."
WIRELESS BEACH: City officials are to launch WiFi Miami Beach on Oct. 30 as a free citywide municipal WiFi network. The network must perform successfully for 90 days before the city accepts it from IBM. The system is required to meet 95% coverage of the community outdoors and 70% indoors up to a building’s second floor, according to the city. City government plans to use the new technology to support citywide mobile access for public safety and other government agencies.